Can I avoid getting a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration in Singapore?

avoid grant of probate singapore

 

Yes, we understand.

Hiring a lawyer to extract a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration isn’t a cheap process. There are actually a few scenarios in which you can work around having to extract a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration in Singapore, although these situations are fairly limited.

1) The estate is less than S$50,000

If the value of the estate of the deceased is less than S$50,000, it is possible to make an application to the Public Trustee to administer the estate. However, this depends on certain criteria being met, and the Public Trustee cannot act in the following situations:

  • a court application for Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration has been filed;
  • there are conflicting claims to the estate or disputes among the beneficiaries;
  • the estate has outstanding debts or liabilities;
  • the person who has died had shares or other interest in unlisted companies (foreign or local);
  • the person who has died was a partner, a sole proprietor or had an interest in a firm or other business;
  • the person who died was the sole lessee (owner) of a HDB flat and a child is eligible to inherit the whole or part of the flat;
  • there are pending lawsuits which involve the person who has died;
  • there are insurance policies where one or more people have been nominated as beneficiaries [Under Section 73 of the Conveyancing and Law of Property Act (Cap. 61), Sections 49L and 49M of the Insurance Act (Cap. 142)];
  • there are trust bank accounts opened with a child; and
  • there are commercial vehicles involved such as taxis.

2) The deceased only has limited savings in local bank accounts

Generally, for smaller sums of money in a local bank account, it may be possible to approach the banks directly to withdraw the money without the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration. Depending on the bank and its terms and conditions, this may be possible for sums of money less than S$5,000.

Usually, the bank in question will require the inquirer and the next of kin to sign indemnity forms in favour of the bank to close down the deceased’s bank account. However, this is up to the discretion of the bank in question, and this request may be refused for any number of reasons. In such a scenario, the best option will be to hire a lawyer to extract the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration.

What if I don’t have enough money to hire a lawyer?

It may be possible to apply for legal aid through the Legal Aid Bureau. Legal Aid is generally available to:

(a)    Singapore citizens and permanent residents who are in Singapore;

(b)    Citizens or residents of contracting states who are involved in applications under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

If you satisfy one of the above criteria, you will also need to pass the Means Test and Merits Test to qualify for legal aid. If you pass these tests, you may then apply to the Legal Aid Bureau for assistance in obtaining a Letter of Administration.

For more information on whether you pass the Means Test and Merits Test, click here.


If you'd like to hire an affordable, vetted Singapore lawyer to draft a will, apply for grants of probate or letters of administration, get in touch with us here.